Archive for February 2010
Been a bit of a jet-setter these last few weeks; this weekend just gone popped across to Sydney for UFC 110 (UFC is Ultimate Fighting for those that don’t know!) Now before you ask no I wasn’t fighting (those guys would remove my head 10 times over before I even got a single punch in!) but I was about as close as one could get – we had ringside tickets for the event. Literally sitting first row right behind the ringcard girls, was fantastic! (if you do wanna see pics from the event just take a look on facebook – add me if you haven’t already :))
However this post isn’t about the UFC (I could write an entire post on the event but that’s not really what this blog’s all about!) – I wanted to write a brief post on a BODYCOMBAT class I attended in Sydney, and had the pleasure of team teaching.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that as an instructor, possibly having me in one of your classes could be a little intimidating. No I’m not rating myself, I don’t consider myself to be anything overly special instructor wise; more so in the fact that yes I do write a blog and yes when I have attended a class that I feel for whatever reason is sub-par I do tend to write about it (I never name names – more write about any lessons I learnt personally from aspects I feel an instructor could improve on). Anyway, this was definitely NOT one of those classes…
If you ever get the chance to head over to one of Wendi & Ray’s 9:45am Saturday morning BODYCOMBAT classes at Fitness First St Leonards in Sydney - do it. I’ve trained at Fitness Firsts all over Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Surfers and Sydney) and yes, as a general rule they do have a very high standard of instructors – but Wendi & Ray’s class was in a category all its own. Electric is quite simply the only word for it! The class was jam packed with smiling faces, they were very vocal and by the end of the class every single person (us included!) had given nothing short of 100% and was a drenched sweaty mess (totally in a good way!) As a ‘foreign’ instructor you sometimes wonder how you’ll be received, but the class welcomed me with open arms, yelled, kiai’d all though every track and just went off! Pure “fitness magic”
A picture tells 1000 words so I’ll post a few below – and again if you wanna see more take a look on facebook. Wendi & Ray thanks so much for having me, was a pleasure and please tell your class how much I enjoyed it – you all rock!
Hey guys, we only just had the last ones but thought I’d post these as the more notice the better for those travelling :);
Thursday 22nd April 2010
- BODYSTEP 81
- BODYPUMP 75
- BODYCOMBAT 45
- BODYBALANCE 50
Monday 26th April 2010
- RPM 48
- BODYVIVE 16
- BODYATTACK 70
- BODYJAM 54
As per if you’re coming let me know and I’ll see ya there!!
I have my BODYCOMBAT and BODYPUMP playlists set up on my iPod in such a way that I can very quickly make a playlist up for a class. I’ve got all the warmups for Combat in one playlist “Combat 1″ – all the track 2s as “Combat 2″ etc so that before a class I can just go into the Combat 1 folder and hold down the warmup I want, then go into combat 2 for the track 2 on so on. It means I don’t have to remember which release a specific track is from as when I go to choose a muay thai track I just go to “Combat 7″ and every muay thai from BODYCOMBAT 14-43 is there. I have the same for pump – makes choosing tracks very very quick!
While making my playlist for this evenings class I took note of the “Play Count” – it would seem I have some tracks I absolutely thrash – some I play fairly often, and others that I’ve not used once since the initial release period was up! Take a look at the “Combat 8″ screen shot below. You can definitely tell my favourites! (Bear in mind when you look at that list that I moduled on BC37 and have taught at four different gyms – I never do the same playlist twice – also this list isn’t quite complete as one of the gyms has an inbuilt system so I don’t use an iPod at all)
Track 1 winner of most played was Amazed/Tick tick Boom. Track 2 United Vibe was on top. Track 3 Come With Me (BC39 version). Track 4 Zombie. Track 5 I’m ashamed to say was Hairspray (hey I get a lot of requests for it!). Track 6 was fairly even but Burn It To The Ground was just ahead. My muay thai list was even more telling. Hardcore Angel was streaks ahead, Ravers Paradise and So What! dominated that list, closely followed by Party Non Stop, We Rock, Excalibur 2000 and Let The Beat Control Your Body. And track 8 you can see above.
If you’re an instructor what would your iPod say about your most used tracks???
This is going to be a bit of a random post so excuse the fact it’s a bit all over the show subject wise!
I’ve just spent 4 days out of town – had to travel to the South Island for a wedding and decided to make a long weekend of it. I won’t mention where I went as I don’t want people to put 2 and 2 together (you’ll see why in a minute). Anyway, of course I couldn’t take 4 full days off exercise (heaven forbid!) so we had to search out for Les Mills classes locally and luckily there was a couple of gyms to choose from so scheduled in a combat class one night and a pump the next morning – that also allowed me a chance to take two full days off training which is all good because I’ve not actually had a single day off teaching this year! I also relish the opportunity to learn off other instructors and was looking forward to picking up a few tips. The pump class was good – but it was the combat class that caused me to raise an eyebrow – the reason for which I’ve covered off a couple of times in previous posts (clearly the instructor doesn’t read this blog!)
I’ve posted before that combat tracks are getting longer – and they really are. For this reason I’ve also posted about The importance of planning your playlist – something that’s really imperative as you could VERY easily take a class well over an hour – or by the same token have another that was over in under 40 minutes if you didn’t choose your tracks wisely. Well that’s exactly what happened in this class. There were two instructors team teaching, they started with the warm up from 41 (10 minutes) – track 3 was Poison (closing in on 8 minutes), track 4 was Use Me (6 and a half), track 6 was a 6 minute track, track 7 was 7 minutes, track 8 – 6 and a half minutes (I think you can see where I’m going with this!) – all up including mic changes and switching from CD to iPod (I’m not too sure what that was about!) and the conditioning track started when the next class was meant to begin! To add insult to injury the conditioning track was a 4.5 minuter (there are 3 minutes or even under what were they thinking!) so they had to cut the cooldown short. Regardless of that the next class started over 10 minutes late – something that absolutely infuriates me personally (hmm… does that count as a pet hate or are others bothered by this as well?)
Before I went down the line I asked a question on facebook about what my friends felt was the correct procedure as an instructor; if you were popping along to another gym to do a class is it etiquette to tell the instructor beforehand that you’re an instructor? Is it best to tell them after? Did it matter at all? I honestly had no idea what was correct if anything… (if you’ve not added me on facebook please do as I’m always pitching strange questions like this and I’d love your feedback!)
Turns out it seems there’s no “correct” procedure as I got dozens and dozens of responses and all of them were different. Some felt it was rude NOT to tell the instructor before. Some felt it was rude TO tell the instructor before as it may put him or her off. Pretty much everyone agreed you always follow the instructors lead even when they make mistakes and all agreed that you never precue movements in advance (again I agree here and that does actually take a lot of concentration to do – especially if when on the floor like me you just go into auto mode!) What are your thoughts on the matter? Would love your feedback below.
As it happens because we went straight to the gym from the airport I didn’t get a chance to speak to the instructor before – and because the class ran so late I didn’t get a chance to speak to them after so the point was kinda moot in the end! Still makes for an interesting point of discussion though!
Finally I want to leave with you an image
I took on my phone (apologies for the quality) (thanks Marcus for the MUCH better image!) of the poster that hangs directly above the stage at my main gym such that I see it every day. It really motivates me on two levels: One, I just love the phrase “The Deeper you dig the HIGHER the High“. That along with “When your body screams tell it to SHUT UP” just pushes me so hard and in turn I like to think I push my class even harder too! The other reason is that the poster features the lovely Mid… if you’ve not had a chance to experience one of Mid’s classes you’ve got to do it! She just epitomises energy and passion and I every time I’m in Auckland I try to get to one of her classes. In fact I’m in Auckland this Friday for the GFM module and I’m going to head along to her 6:30am attack class… if you’re in Auckland get your butt along to LM City and join me!
Once again apologies for the shotgun nature of the subjects in the post – but would love your feedback on any of it!
At the filming of BODYCOMBAT 44 last week one track in particular caught my attention more than the others for the strangest of reasons. Without getting myself in trouble for spilling too much information, it was a cover of an artist on the PPNZ’s “clearance will not be given” list – that is, a list of eight bands that, quote “do not allow their work to be used under any circumstances.” (I only know this as my day job is in marketing and I’ve tried to get clearance on one of these bands before – obviously to no avail!) PPNZ is the organisation that licenses the public performance of music (in places such as fitness centres) – so when I heard this track in BC44 I was surprised as obviously they would never allow it to be used – however the important fact here is that the version used was a cover – not the original track.
I’m having trouble making my point here so some background first. You may or may not be aware of a fairly hot topic in the fitness industry right now; The proposed increases to music copyright tariffs to fitness centres by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). Without getting bogged down in details, the PPCA (the Australian arm of the PPNZ) is currently proposing some MASSIVE increases in the music licensing rates for fitness centres/gyms. Fitness Centres in Australia currently pay $0.968 per fitness class per week to the PPCA, with an annual capped maximum of $2,654. The new proposed rates balloon to $4.54 per member per month – regardless of whether those members participate in group fitness classes or not! To put this in perspective an average sized fitness centre would go from paying $1500 per year – to over $80,000.00! Large gyms would go from $2,654 to over $200,000.00! It’s a massive threat to our industry and obviously a major concern as it could set a new precedent worldwide.
Now, this is just my opinion here – I literally have no inside knowledge about what Les Mills are doing – but, as far as I can see you only have to look at your recent Les Mills releases though to see that they’re preparing for the worst. When LM creates their own music they are able to side step the PPCA tariffs. I grabbed one of my combat releases from 2008 (BC37) and took a look. Not one Les Mills cover track on it (easiest way is to look at the back and you’ll see © Les Mills Music Licensing Ltd under the track). As a comparison I grabbed BC41 and took a look – just a year later – half the release is LM covers. Pump 67, 68, 69 – not one cover. 72 – I think has 3 and Pump 73 as far as I can see has six!
Now, obviously covers aren’t ideal. Heck, for years LM sold themselves as being head and shoulders above the other group fitness systems (like Radical) as they used only original artists. But, times are changing and before too long we may find that our releases are exclusively covers. Which brings me back to my original point – and the reason for the post; Putting a positive spin on a cr@p situation:
Let’s say you’re a Programme Director and you hear a track on the radio that you think would make a phenomenal track for your programme. In the past – you’d have to go through all the proper channels, jump through a whole raft of legal hoops to possibly be able to get that track licensed (it’s not an easy process – and personally I was only trying for NZ – let alone the entire world!) – and that entire process takes time and when approval finally does come through (if it does) and you’ve filmed the release and then it hits the streets 4 months later… well let’s just say it’s more than likely that track would have had its day in the sun and we’ll all be sick of it! On top of that being an original track it can’t be edited – the PD has to make the choreography fit to the music – not the other way around (which in an ideal world would be better). But… that’s what has to be done as getting original tracks/artists is always much more preferable to using a cover version.
But – due to all this PPCA carry on – imagine the ability to use original artists is now out of the question (obviously this would be a massive shame but I’m trying to be glass is half full here!) Now, under those circumstances when a PD hears a track they rush into the office and get LM Music to whip up a cover – mixed exactly as they’d like for their class. Sped up, slowed down, spliced, whatever they want really! On top of that – there’s comparatively next to no messing around with legalities or licenses – a quick session in the studio and its done (obviously the process isn’t quite this easy but you see where I’m going).
Which brings me full circle to my opening paragraph. As I said the track that got me thinking about this from BC44 is from an artist on the “clearance will not be given” list. That is, when LM only used original artists this track could never have been in combat. But now – a whole raft of new musical opportunities open for us. Granted – they will be covers, but some of the Les Mills covers are really good (Use Me in BC42 was almost indistinguishable from the original) – some in my opinion aren’t the best (Know Your Enemy anyone??) .
As such, we could now start seeing some exciting new music that we’ve never seen before in our releases. And that, could be a pretty cool side effect of a rather cr@ppy situation don’t ya think?
Imagine an organisation literally changing the world for the better. A company improving the lives of millions of people around the globe. A company lead by an army of tens of thousands of motivated, energetic and passionate instructors who are for the most part underpaid, but who do it because they love helping people, love the smiles, love the results their members enjoy, and love being part of something truly special…
Then imagine that same organisation has an official website, with an online community made up of instructors and participants. You would think, quite obviously, that this community would also be a place to come for motivation, education and inspiration, right?
WRONG. Dead wrong… In fact that couldn’t be further from the truth…
For an organisation that strives to change the world, one body at a time the Les Mills online forum is a haven of negativity, personal attacks and down right nastiness. It’s quite simply the exact opposite of everything the Les Mills brand is, and should be. It is literally dominated by a small group of people who post with an absurd frequency, turning almost every thread, no matter how innocent, into a flood of personal attacks and abuse.
And something’s GOT to change… quickly.
Case in point. Here’s a post made by a person completely new to the forums just a few days ago (I’ll edit it for brevity – full post here):
I decided to try a Bodyflow class yesterday… I gave this class my all, and I think I did extremely well. Immediately after class I was so wobby I could barely walk down the gym’s 40 stairs to leave. then last night and especially today I am extremely lame/sore all over. …Wow this must be efffective. Is it normal to be so incredibly sore for a person who is new and not in the best physical shape? Many thanks for your kind reply.
Seems innocent enough right? Someone tries a Les Mills programme for the first time, is terribly sore afterwards (we’ve ALL been there) so goes to the official Les Mills website to get some advice as to whether it is normal, and if it will continue to hurt this much! You’d think she’d receive support, advice, and reassurance yes? No. Here’s the second response she received:
Another fake ident and trumped up post. Where do these come from? I know, do you? What strikes you as odd about this supposedly first post from a supposedly newbie? Then there’s the hopelessly helpful responders. Talk about a need to be needed.
WTF?! The thread then quickly deteriorates into personal attacks and mud slinging, and goes waaay off topic. Posters telling each other to drop dead, name calling; “loser” and “B*!*T*C*H” – I think you get the idea. And I wish, I truly wish this was an isolated case, but it’s not.
It’s gotten so bad that some of the forums most worthwhile members have left. A recent example is given in the post “Whilst no one will bade me a farewell..”
I think I’m over the whole LM threads.
There are so many amazing, intelligent posters, and so many great questions. Yet, those who copy/paste, those who demean instructors,(and participants), *** me to tears..
So, I’m done ( with a sigh of relief from many I imagine)..until the day things change
To be honest I’m in exactly the same boat. I’ve posted twice all year. I used to contribute fairly regularly, but it’s just not worth all the drama. An otherwise valuable thread will very quickly deteriorate.
Seriously, imagine if you were thinking about trying a LM group fitness programme out and went to the forum for advice… what would it tell you about the company… after being abused for posting a serious and legitimate question would you ever go back to the website… would you ever go back to the class?!
The forums need moderation… an active LMI staff member to quickly delete and if necessary ban those that don’t contribute positively. It needs this and it needs it now. For an organisation that strives to motivate, educate and positively change the world, its official site is the exact opposite.
My $0.02. Be interested in your thoughts….
Addition Feb 6 2010: Since the writing of this post LMI have removed the profile one of the worst perpetrators of personal attacks and abuse – so we are making progress. Unfortunately he simply created another profile using a slight change to his blocked user name and began posting again. This profile has also been deleted but in all likelihood he may try again so I urge everyone to ignore his attempts to bait you/us, and immediately report any abuse to LMI. Keep up the great work everyone!
Addition 15 Feb 2010: Les Mills have deleted all the profiles made by the main offender AND deleted all the threads linked to in this post (which is a great thing!) They seem to be actively policing the forum and it is a much nicer place to be… GREAT WORK LMI and everyone who contributed to this – we rock!
Hey team! With workshops starting this week the tracklists are out… so here ya go! Check out the posters… Matty T and Mid looking fantastic! Enjoy!
BODYPUMP 73 tracklist
01. Release Me – Linzi Paul
02. DOA – Telstarr
03. I Gotta Feeling – TransNoise
04. Mysterious Times (Kindervater vs Jens O Remix Edit) – Sash feat. Tina Cousins
05. Evacuate The Dancefloor – Studio88
06. New Divide – Crimson Ltd
07. When Love Takes Over – Olson Bjerre
08. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Voc Mix) – Warp Bros
09. S.O.S. (Let The Music Play) – Jordin Sparks
10. No Surprise – Daughtry
BODYSTEP 79 tracklist
01. Boom Boom Pow – Beat Factory
02. Million Dollar Bill (Freemasons Club Mix) – Whitney Houston
03. La Copa de la Vida – Mambo Jambo
04. Let’s Get Excited – Melissa East
05. Blood On The Dance Floor – I’Homage
06. Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head) – Jak Lee & DJ F.A.B
07. Jump – Dancefloor Generals
08. Higher – Mandy Riviera
09. I Got A Girl – Sage Warner
10. Sexy! No No – Graffiti Girls
11a. Smooth Criminal – l’Homage
11b. If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better – The Tamperer ft. Maya
12. Language – Annie Crummer
BODYATTACK 68 tracklist
01. Evacuate The Dancefloor (DJ KTW Remix) – Studio88
02. Don’t Upset The Rhythm – Ultimate
03. Fire Burning – Mikey Index
04. Are You Gonna Go My Way – Sam Bug
05. I Like It – Lennie Foster
06. In The Heat Of The Night – Block Busters
07. Lala Song – Bounce Boys
08. Freedom – SuperDeep
09. We Are The Champions – 20/20
10. And I Try – Face2Face
11. Celebration – Vanessa Ribas
12. Hold My Hand – Birds & Nature
BODYCOMBAT 43 tracklist
1a. Freedom (Sunset Project Mix) – Beatbreaker
1b. Starstrukk – 3OH!3
02. Love Drunk – Boys Like Girls
03. Send Me An Angel (Weaver Remix) – Slinkee Minx
04. Fight For Your Right (DJ Anady vs Sander Remix) – Boogie Bros
05. Without A Fight – Mindwarp
06. Black Pearl (Dave Darrell Radio Edit) – Scotty
07. Kick Start My Heart – The Snake
08. Overload – VooDoo & Sereno
09. Do It Again – Cassie Davis
10. Sounds Of Freedom – Within Temptation
BODYBALANCE 48 tracklist
01. Love Theme From Ben-Hur – Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra feat. Sophie Solomon
02. Right Now – Samantha James
03. One – Renata Alexander
04. Inner Music – Sky D’Or
05. I Just Tell Myself (Extended Version) – Balligomingo
06. One Tribe – TransNoise
07. Before The Worst – The Script
08. Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
09a. Study War – Mirage
09b. E Rangiatea-Clearing Skies – Rata Blossom
10. Wildflowers – Stanton Lanier
BODYJAM 52 tracklist
01. Tonight (Above & Beyond Remix) – Dirty Vegas
02. She Wolf (featuring T-Pain) – Shakira
03. Gualando (Bilingual Mix) – Fulanito
04. Remedy (Rusko’s Big Trainers Remix) – Little Boots
05. Pop, Lock & Drop It – Huey
06. So Fine – Sean Paul
07. Everytime Tha Beat Drop (Clean) – Monica featuring Dem Franchize Boyz
08. Pro Nails (Rusko Remix) – Kid Sister
09. Take Your Shirt Off – T-Pain
10. Pon de Floor(feat. VYBZ Kartel) – Major Lazer
11. Right Hand Hi – Kid Sister
12. Now You See It – Honorebel feat Pitbull & Jump Smokers
13. She’s Got It – Vandalism & Angger Dimas
14. Video Phone – Beyonce
Bonus Pop Block
15. Lovestoned / I Think She Knows Interlude – Justin Timberlake
16. Lovestoned / I Think She Knows (Justice Remix) – Justin Timberlake
17. If U Seek Amy – Britney Spears
18. Heavy Cross – Gossip
19. Million Dollar Bill (Freemasons Club Mix) – Whitney Houston
RPM 46 tracklist
01. Cosmic Girl – Jamiroquai
02. I Gotta Feeling – TransNoise
03. My Life Would Suck Without You (Bass Force Remix) – Kelly Clarkson
04. Home – Paul van Dyk feat. Johnny McDaid
05. The Pretender – InTheWind
06. Sincere For You feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw (Radio Mix) – Lange
07. Evacuate The Dancefloor (DJ KTW Remix) - Studio88
08. Don’t Know What To Do – Dane Rumble
09. No Air duet with Chris Brown – Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown
BODYVIVE 14 tracklist
01. I’m Your Man – Wham!
02. Breakaway – DJ Bill Bennett feat Inaya Day
03. Footloose (From The Paramount Film “Footloose”) – Kenny Loggins
04. Don’t Leave Me This Way – Melinda Harvey
05. Maniac – Spitfire II
06. Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins
07. More Than A Feeling – Boston
08. Express Yourself – Vanesa Ribas
09. Funky Town – Pseudo Echo
10. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
11. Rosanna – Toto
12. True Colors – Cyndi Lauper